Wednesday, July 7, 2010

COW (Case of the Week): Glaucoma

Here is a picture of a horse I saw a week or so ago. This is probably one of the most extreme examples of an eye with chronic glaucoma that I have seen in quite a while. Glaucoma is when the pressures inside the eye become much higher than they should be. As you can see in the picture, the left eye is considerably larger than the right. The left eye has become so large as a result of chronically high pressures within the globe. When an eye experiences this much damage they are difficult to salvage.

This horse reportedly has had a long standing history of ‘eye problems.’ Most cases of glaucoma in horses are the result of uveitis, as was the case with this horse. There are many different things that can cause uveitis in horses, but the most common form is recurrent uveitis or ‘moon blindness.’ Glaucoma is a condition that usually develops as a consequence of uveitis. It is critically important to evaluate these ‘eye problems’ early on in the course of the disease. When an eye reaches this stage, it is impossible to undo all of the damage that has been done.

Eye problems in horses should not be taken lightly. It is critically important to treat these cases early and aggressively. Diseases of the eye are also extremely difficult to sort out over the phone. We commonly get phone calls from clients asking what they should treat a watery or swollen eye with. It is not possible for us to make treatment recommendations without examining the eye, because one medication that might be the right treatment for one condition could be the absolutely wrong treatment for the other. A good treatment plan always starts with a diagnosis.

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